Mark Reads ‘The Truth’: Part 9

In the ninth part of The Truth, William gets closer to discovering what really happened to Lord Vetinari. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld

You know, I didn’t realize what a unique opportunity this book is providing for me, at least in the context of me reading the Discworld books. For the first time in a long while, I actually know the solution to the central mystery! With this section of The Truth, the bulk of the remaining gaps are filled in. That means that Pratchett is generating tension and intrigue in an entirely different way: I’ve become invested in William figuring out what’s going on. THAT’S SO NEW TO ME. It’s like I’ve become all of you instead. (Oh, I am going to revel in the amount of joy that I will gain from being the one with all the spoilers once my book gets out in the world. IT SHALL BE MY REVENGE.) Anyway, there are many things of note here, so let’s do this.

“Well, we’re not prejudiced about that sort of thing…”

Oh, Angua. Y’all, I didn’t comment within the last review about how hilarious it was that William, who is proving to be an observant reporter, was utterly wrong about who the werewolf is in the Watch. But Pratchett drills a different point home here: the shifting meaning of bigotry. William knew how shitty it was to threaten to expose the Watch’s werewolf, but he’s actually unaware that he did so in front of said werewolf. His comment to Angua in passing is ironic because he wants to claim to be less bigoted, but he’s unintentionally been so. That’s why it’s so important to let you actions show that you’re an accepting, kind person, rather than relying on announcing it out loud. Some of the most bigoted, prejudicial people I’ve ever met were the ones who proclaimed their ally status the loudest.

Probably shouldn’t do that.

There was a fish tank bubbling on one bench. Inside it, some potatoes were idly swimming backwards and forwards.

I actually didn’t expect Pratchett to explain this, and I adored this bit of weirdness just for the sake of it. Still, the explanation makes it even better: Igor is trying to invent instant fish and chips, which would make him a WORLD TREASURE, for the record.

“Here we are, then,” said Igor, lurching back. “Who first?”

“Lord Vetinari?” Said William.

“He’s still athleep,” said Igor.

“What, after all this time?”

Not surprithing. It was a nasty blow he had–”

WHOOPS, YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T HAVE LET THAT SLIP. I hope this helps William realize that reporting the “facts” can actually be harmful. I say that because he originally reported on the details of Vetinari’s case, and this wasn’t part of it. Thus, he’s missing part of the whole, which paints a much different story than the one that was initially pieced together. Now, he obviously can’t know everything the first time around, but that’s where he can improve. By asking questions and conducting his own investigation, he can at least challenge what he was told. Thus, I don’t blame Drumknott for being uninterested in talking to William. He doesn’t believe that his boss actually stabbed him, and he has a great mistrust for… well, pretty much everyone, right? William hasn’t actually given him a reason to speak his mind, and I’m sure Drumknott knows how easily it would be for the press to turn against him or Vetinari.

After this, Pratchett jumps about, first switching to Vimes’s POV so we can understand just how convinced the Watch is that William will be killed for what he’s doing. There’s a rather violent scene where Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip encounter one of the city’s legal thieves. It serves to demonstrate just how utterly depraved these two men are, which isn’t like most of the Discworld antagonists. I mean, they’re just mean and violent and conniving and manipulative all the time! The only “positive” quality I can attribute to either of them is Mr. Tulip’s interest in art and architecture. But does that even count when he’s slamming someone’s head against a wall?

Anyway, things take another turn – there are so many plot twists already! – when William learns he has a competitor. Yeah, turns out that the Engravers and Printers Guild started their own paper, and not only do they have better resources, they’re trying a different technique: their paper, the Inquirer, is a gossip/tabloid paper. All of the headlines are inflammatory, exaggerated, or flat-out untrue. Again: HOW IS THIS BOOK SO RIDICULOUSLY APPROPRIATE FOR OUR CURRENT WORLD? It was not surprising to learn that people were drawn to these more salacious stories, and that’s the point. The Guild doesn’t care about reporting the news; they just want to put The Ankh-Morpork Times out of business. It’s a legitimate threat, too! Yet when faced with this threat, I admired how much the staff decided to double-down and continue working hard to publish actual news. They could have just given up and taken the money they made, but they refused to do so. Some take pay cuts; Otto commits to bringing color iconographs to the paper, too. Y’all, I can’t wait to see what comes of this.

Finally, I was surprised by that scene between Slant, Pin, and Tulip, though I shouldn’t have been. I had forgotten that Pin had bought that Mk II in order to hopefully record some incriminating evidence during their meeting with the lawyer. I’m not sure that Mr. Pin gets what he wants, though. Oh, Mr. Slant says a number of unfortunate things, but they’re all about himself. He is smart enough to avoid saying anything that would identify who hired him. Plus, as I’m reading this a second time, I can see that Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip come out looking way worse than Mr. Slant! Tulip outright insults Mr. Slant for being a zombie, and they both spell out practically every crime they committed. So… I feel like this is going to backfire on them. Right???

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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